ODNR suggests tax refund donations

COLUMBUSAs Ohioans begin to sort through their receipts and deductions in anticipation of the April 15 tax filing deadline, they have the opportunity to donate a portion or all of their state income tax refund to support Ohio’s wildlife and Ohio State Nature Preserves.

“It would be impossible for us to achieve our conservation goals without the support we receive from Ohio’s taxpayers,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director James Zehringer. “These tax donations support programs that restore our endangered and threatened wildlife and help protect the beautiful natural areas at our Ohio State Nature Preserves.”

The ODNR Division of Wildlife was created during a time when wildlife populations were vanishing at an alarming rate. The mission then, and still is, to manage, protect and restore wildlife populations to improve Ohioans’ quality of life, Zehringer said.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife does not receive taxpayer dollars. Nearly all wildlife conservation in Ohio is funded by people who hunt, fish, and trap. Zehringer said the tax donation program is an important way all wildlife enthusiasts can help restore and manage endangered and threatened wildlife and other species of special interest.

Donations made to the “Wildlife Diversity Fund” help support critical ecological management activities in Ohio, including: monitoring sandhill cranes, black bears, and trumpeter swans; restoring native butterflies, freshwater mussels, and hellbenders; creating Monarch butterfly habitat and other conservation efforts benefitting pollinators; and wildlife education efforts through the production and distribution of field guides and posters.

The ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves oversees the state’s 136 nature preserves across Ohio, which are open year-round and available to all Ohioans. Zehringer said the tax refund donation program directly supports facility improvements, invasive species management, land purchases, educational opportunities and scientific research. Ohio State Nature Preserves provide habitat for endangered species and promote a good quality of life within Ohio’s communities.

Donations to the “State Nature Preserves” fund help protect Ohio’s prairies, old growth forests, wetlands and rare geologic formations.

People who are interested in contributing to either of these funds can make checks payable to the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves or to the Wildlife Diversity Fund. Donations should be addressed to the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves or the ODNR Division of Wildlife, both located at 2045 Morse Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229.